Consultation launched on acute mental health services in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea

24 October 2023

Residents of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are being asked for their views on the future shape of services in their boroughs for adults aged 18 to 65 with acute mental health needs. A public consultation is launched today (24 October 2023) and will run for 14 weeks, concluding at the end of January 2024. Feedback from local people and the context of the wider mental health strategy for North West London will then inform decisions on how services will operate in future.

The consultation will look at getting the right balance between community-based provision and inpatient beds in the two boroughs. NHS North West London and Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust (CNWL) have worked with service users, clinical experts, the Met Police, local voluntary sector bodies and local residents to develop options for future provision.

Our preferred option (described in the consultation document as Option 3) is to:

  • Expand the mental health crisis assessment (MHCAS) service (previously piloted at St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing) and move it to the Gordon Hospital, with capacity for 12 patients, including the capability for 4 patients to be admitted at night. 
  • Keep the existing 67 inpatient beds at St Charles. Additional capacity in Brent would free up seven beds at St Charles.
  • This option retains the community and crisis services developed since the Gordon Hospital wards were closed. Voluntary sector partnerships would remain in place and the Community Access Service (CAS) would continue.

Dr Con Kelly, Medical Director at CNWL, said:

“Mental health care is changing. National guidance and the evidence from our own services shows that supporting people to stay well in the community brings better outcomes. Of course we need inpatient beds so that people can be admitted to hospital in times of crisis. What we are trying to do is strike the right balance so that our residents have access to high quality mental health care whenever they need it.

“We believe that caring for and supporting people with severe mental health needs in community settings, closer to family and friends, helps people recover quicker, stay well for longer and live independently as part of their community. We recognise there are times when hospital admission is necessary and, on these occasions, we believe people deserve timely treatment in high quality hospital facilities.

 “This is why our current preference is to keep the Gordon Hospital open and to reshape services across the two boroughs so we can maintain current levels of community support while expanding crisis provision.”

Two other options are also described in the consultation document. For the reasons set out below, we do not believe that either option is deliverable or that they would provide the best service for patients. They are therefore included for comparison purposes only.

  • Option 1 is closest to the service that existed before temporary closure of wards at the Gordon Hospital. It would comprise 118 inpatient beds across two sites, St Charles (67 beds) and Gordon Hospital (51 beds). The Gordon Hospital facilities would meet "safe" standards, but not “desired” standards, due to the constraints of the building. 

There would be less additional capacity created in Brent than in our preferred option, so some of the beds at St Charles would still be used by Brent residents. Community and crisis services developed since March 2020 would be cut, with these being reduced or stopped entirely.

  • Option 2 would see 80 beds across two sites: 67 at St Charles and 13 delivered in a single ward at the Gordon Hospital. Community and crisis services would be reduced, including closure of the MHCAS service, with its staff moving to support inpatient care.  Voluntary sector partnerships would remain in place and the Community Access Service (CAS) would continue.  There would be less additional capacity created in Brent than in our preferred option, so some of the beds at St Charles would still be used by Brent residents.

Toby Lambert, Executive Director of Strategy and Population Health for North West London, said:

“Our current view is that our preferred model – Option 3 – offers the highest quality clinical care, the best patient experience, allows us to treat more residents with acute mental health needs, and is the best use of our available funding and resources.

“In the past, too many people were cared for in a restrictive inpatient hospital setting with no access to outside space and we did not have the right services in the community to fully support people with severe mental health needs.

“During the pandemic, the temporary closure of wards at the Gordon Hospital allowed us to significantly increase community-based mental health services. Overall, we are spending £11m more on mental health services supporting the residents in these boroughs, with 193 additional staff. Many more people now receive the help they need - we are supporting more than twice as many people as we were previously. We have reduced the need for inpatient admissions by an average of almost 30 per cent while referrals to services in the community have more than doubled.

“But before making any decisions, we want to hear the views of local people and current users of mental health services. We know some people will have a different view on the right balance between different types of mental healthcare and we will listen to and consider all views put forward during the consultation.

“We want to hear from as many people as possible – patients and service users, residents, carers, members of the public, staff, voluntary sector representatives and advocates as well as partners. Your views are important and will help us shape mental health services for residents in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.”

Residents of the two boroughs are encouraged to take part in and respond to the consultation.

To give your views, you can:

Complete the public consultation questionnaire available at

You can also download and print a paper copy of the questionnaire, complete it, and send it to us at our address, FREEPOST, HEALTHIER NORTH WEST LONDON (no stamp needed).

The NHS will be holding public meetings, both face to face and online.  These meetings are an opportunity to meet the programme team and other interested service users and residents, to find out more about our ideas and to give your views. Full details of all events and engagement activities are available on the NHS North West London website –

After the consultation ends, all responses, comments, and feedback will be collated and analysed by an independent organisation prior to a final decision being made.

Notes to editors

  1. The consultation starts on 24 October 2023 and ends on 30 January 2024. The full consultation document, which includes information on the case for change and how the options were developed, is available at
  2. If you would like to interview a spokesperson for the NHS, please contact the NHS North West London press office:

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